This Wednesday is Marcus Smart Day here at NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to check out our exclusive content around Smart throughout the day, both online and on the broadcast of Spurs-Celtics.
Has Marcus Smart gotten under your skin? Join the club.
The Boston Celtics guard has made a living as a pesky defensive stopper, frustrating opponents with his relentless hustle. He's also not afraid to mix it up when those opponents snap back at him.
Smart's combination of tenacity, fearlessness and a relatively short fuse have resulted in several memorable "beefs" between himself and some of the NBA's biggest stars.
So, to celebrate "Marcus Smart Day" at NBC Sports Boston, we thought it would be fitting to break down the most notable confrontations of Smart's career, which have led to some colorful locker room exchanges.
December 2014: Smart vs. DeMarcus Cousins
Origin of the beef: The Sacramento Kings center sets a hard screen on Smart. The young guard, then a rookie, responds with a hard box-out. Cousins doesn't like it, and tosses Smart to the ground. Chaos ensues.
Fallout from the beef: Cousins gets ejected, while Smart stays in the game to help Boston earn a 22-point win.
Quote(s) of note: Cousins: "I felt he took a cheap shot on the box out."
Smart: "I’m just playing defense. He knows that I’m not going to back down from him."
November 2015: Smart vs. Russell Westbrook
Origin of the beef: Smart scores a career-high 26 points in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. After the game, Westbrook takes umbrage to a reporter suggesting Smart held his own with the All-Star guard:
"I don’t agree with you, but no. He had a good game, you know. Eighty-two games, I do this. Don’t get it twisted."
“I do this. Don’t get it twisted.”— ESPN (@espn) November 16, 2015
Russell Westbrook isn’t here for any talk about Marcus Smart outplaying him: https://t.co/6Bq1v9cnDk
Fallout from the beef: Unsurprisingly, Smart stood his ground in response to Westbrook's comments:
"You put two guys like that going against each other, obviously you’re going to knock heads."
December 2017: Smart vs. James Harden
Origin of the beef: Smart forces Harden to commit two offensive fouls in the final seconds of the Celtics' game against the Houston Rockets, helping Boston complete an impressive comeback.
Fallout from the beef: Harden complains about the officiating after the game -- "It's just tough. You can't have two officials in a professional game" -- but the NBA's "Last Two-Minute" report confirmed both offensive foul calls were correct.
Quote(s) of note: Harden: "How else am I supposed to get open? Guy has two arms wrapped around my whole body."
October 2018: Smart vs. J.R. Smith
Origin of the beef: The Cleveland Cavaliers guard gets tangled up with Aron Baynes during the teams' preseason finale and gives him a shove. That doesn't sit well with Smart, who comes flying in to push Smith and escalate the scuffle.
Fallout from the beef: Smart gets ejected in a Celtics loss, then blasts Smith after the game, telling reporters he told the Cavs guard to meet him in "the back." Smart later has to pay $25,000 fine.
Quote(s) of note: Smart: "Ain’t no punk right here. On my mama, may she rest in peace. That s--- dead, so. Whatever happens, happens. J.R. knows where I’m at. Everyone knows where I’m at. It is what it is."
Smith: "Better keep this s--- about basketball."
March 2019: Smart vs. Joel Embiid
Origin of the beef: The Philadelphia 76ers big man gives Smart an elbow to the side, knocking him to the court. So, Smart returns the favor ... with a two-handed shove to Embiid's back. Chaos ensues.
Fallout from the beef: Smart is ejected and later is assessed a $50,000 fine. The Celtics blow a second-half lead and lose 118-115.
Quote(s) of note: Embiid: "Obviously, I was frustrated because it was a cheap shot."
Smart: "I'll do it over again. I'm going to protect myself at all times, especially if I don't feel like I'm being protected out there like everybody else is. If you don't want to clean it up, I'll clean it up myself."
November 2019: Smart vs. Patrick Beverley
Origin of the beef: Channeling his inner Westbrook, the Los Angeles Clippers' resident agitator bristles at the notion that Smart could "out-intense" him following their early-season matchup:
Reporter - “What’s it like being out there with Marcus Smart, a guy trying to out-intense you?”— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) November 21, 2019
Patrick Beverley - “...”
Reporter - “You don’t usually have another guy out there that matches your intensity.”
Pat Bev - “...That’s funny”#Clippers #Celtics pic.twitter.com/GxrQWb0gjJ
Fallout from the beef: Beverley wins round one over Smart, hitting a clutch 3-pointer to lift the Clippers to a 107-104 win over the Celtics.
Quote(s) of note: Smart: "I’m on another level. When it comes to me, if you had to choose me [or] Pat, I think I’d be getting that nod."
Don't miss Marcus Smart Day and NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Spurs, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike and Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.